Chapter 1 : Deals and the Fine Print
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Darcy by pheonixn @ TDA :)
Mirror on the wall, here we are again
Through my rise and fall,
you've been my only friend
So why are we talking to each other again
-Mirror, Bruno Mars
Oct. 31st, 2026
A shrill alarm cut through my dream, yanking me back into reality. I rolled over and pressed my face into my pillow in a useless attempt to shut out the world.
I sat up and drew my quilt tighter around me to lock in the warmth. I tried not to let my gaze linger on anything for too long. He was everywhere. When I left the flat, reminders where plastered across the media, then when I got home, the memory of him was burned into every fibre of the carpet, every brick of the walls. There was no escaping it.
The flat seemed cold these days. Like an unrelenting chill was anchored in the air. No matter how many heating charms I cast, it was immovable. Kind of ironic really, it seemed to match my mood. It was almost as though I had a permanent raincloud over my head.
I felt the back of my eyes begin to sting and I balled my fists, angry at myself. I had to stop this. Sitting around everyday crying and wishing things were different wouldn’t bring him back. I’m not saying I shouldn’t be sad, but I don’t have to be this pathetic. I’ve realized that I have two options now. I can either,
A) Jeopardise my emotional stability and sit here and cry over him, or
B) Get on with my day and accept the situation for what it is and that I cannot change it.
Deciding to reign in all my maturity and go with option B, I kicked the covers off my legs. I cast another futile heating charm, to no avail. I didn’t want to see anyone today. I didn’t want to see the paparazzi, I didn’t want to see him, I didn’t even want to see my stylist, who I realized would be here shortly to get me ready. Apparently, tonight was going to be a “big, big night!”
Jan. 3rd, 2026
I drummed my fingers on my lap and leaned my head against the wall, sighing in frustration. I pulled my wand out of my bag and tapped it rhythmically on the arm of the chair. Lilac sparks showered to the floor.
Magic is so pretty.
I smoothed down my hair and my jeans. Nina told me to look my best today because she needed me to settle an important deal. What kind of deal he meant, I had no idea. I decided to wear my favorite black skinny jeans, a white bustier top and black ankle boots. My baby blue robe was slung over the back of my chair. Robes were rarely worn, these days. They were more of a ‘special occasion’ item, which I frankly find to be a pity. Some of us still wear robes out, or like me, carry them. Robes were an indicator of Blood Status and wealth. Granted I would never look down on a Half-Blood or a Muggle-born, but I was proud of my magical blood and I felt superior when I carried my robe. Perhaps that was the Slytherin in me. While a lot of the prejudice we were taught is stupid and irrational, it was sometimes hard to block it out completely.
I sighed again, impatiently tapping my foot now. One would assume a woman with only five clients would do her best to keep each of those clients happy, but no, Nina Nixon always keeps me waiting.
At my foot tapping, the snotty blonde receptionist behind the counter glared at me. He hair was pulled back in a ponytail so tight that it must have been pulling her eyebrows up towards her hairline. I folded my arms and glared back at her. When she noticed I’d met her gaze, she quickly busied herself with work again. After a moment, she nodded at her computer screen.
"Ms Nixon will see you now," a she informed me. I nodded once in acknowledgment. As I stood, she looked me up and down. As she watched me pick up my robe of the back of my chair, her eyes widened a bit and she hurriedly went back to work. I tried to suppress a smile as I opened Nina’s office door.
"Darcy, darling!" Nina exclaimed, standing up and holding me at arm’s length to examine me with a huge smile. "You look so gorgeous! I haven't seen you in years, darling! How long has it been? What? Four, five weeks?"
"Three days," I corrected with a sarcastic smile.
I sighed, placing my hand on my hip. "You kept me waiting again, Nina. You know I don't like when you do that."
She snapped her fingers and a jug of water appeared on her desk. It had ice cubes and lemon slices bobbing near the top.
“Lemon water?” she asked, as though I hadn’t said anything. “I hear it’s good for the complexion, which on closer examination may do you well.”
I scrunched up my nose and looked away from her as I say down. My complexion was fine, thank you very much. After all, what teenager doesn’t get the occasional blemish. What does she expect.
"Why am I here?" I sniffed.
"Well, well, well, something has certainly got your wand in a knot, missy.”
Nina was what I liked to call a ‘small doses’ person. You know the kind that you can only stand for about half an hour or so before they set you on edge?
“Do try and seem like a normal person when I introduce you to your business partner."
I gritted my teeth and tried to suppress my annoyance. “What do you mean, business partner?”
A sly smile spread across Nina's face. "Ah, now you're interested."
What crazy plan had Nina formulated now? I used to think that she was the best publicist because she always has a way to get into or out of any kind of job, scandal or publicity stunt, but now I’m thinking that may not be such a good thing.
If she tries to get me involved in another Muggle TV show, I swear to Merlin I’ll walk out of here.
Last year, she managed to land me the role of a girl named Kendall on a Muggle ‘reality’ show about a family who were famous even though nobody quite knew why. That was my last job. I haven’t had work for a while now.
"Now, be nice Darcy. I'm going to call him in now.”
“It’s a boy?” I clarified.
Nina sighed impatiently. "Yes, dear. Do try to keep up please." I rolled my eyes. "You will know who he is, he is quite well known. The ones from famous families always are."
It better not have something to do with that Muggle tv show.
"What is the deal, though?"
"Ah, we will discuss all that once we meet the young man whom you will work with." Nina lazily lifted her wand off the desk and flicked it at the door.
"Hi," a male voice mumbled but I didn’t bother looking towards it.
"Sit down, darling," Nina said, brandishing her arms like she did when I came in.
I looked up to meet Nina’s stern gaze. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a boy with dark hair, but that was about it.
Nina had said he was from a famous family. I raked my mind of the famous families I knew of.
Could it be Michael Wood, son of Oliver Wood? Or maybe it's one of the Shacklebolt twins! But then again, they are 25 and in Brazil shooting the campaign for their knew cologne.
"Darcy, as you know, you haven’t been cast in much lately and you seem to be unable to get over this little speed-bump," Nina said and I felt my cheeks redden a little. "I've been doing my research. What better way to bump up your image a bit than a publicity stunt? That's where Albus comes in."
Of course, Albus Potter.
What family is more famous than the Potters?
I was nervous. A publicity stunt is a bad idea, especially one that Nina had formulated. According to her, all publicity is good publicity.
I turned to face the boy next to me. I recognized him at once. He’s constantly plastered throughout the tabloids and his family is always the centre of some rumour. If I’m correct, he was also the year above me at Hogwarts. We never spoke to each other, but really there was no need. He and his entire family were Gryffindors, I was a Slytherin. Our lack of communication wasn’t unusual.
"What do you mean when you say 'publicity stunt’?" I asked.
"Well," Nina began, leaning forward on her desk. She had a sensible expression on her face. She looked sure of herself- perhaps it wasn’t going too bad. "I have decided a nice fake-pregnancy should do the trick. Imagine the press when world-renowned Darcy Greengrass gets knocked up by the son of the Chosen O-”
"Please do not call him that," Albus said, interrupted. "He has a name."
That was his only problem with her little scheme?
“And absolutely not,” he said resolutely, folding his arms. I suppose that answered my unvoiced question.
“What? Why not?” Nina asked. She seemed genuinely confused.
“Don’t you have anything a little less…” Albus trailed off, searching for the right word.
“Cheap? Tasteless?” I offered and he cocked his head in my direction.
Nina laughed. “Don’t misunderstand! It would be very tastefully done!”
“No,” Albus told her. He started to get up. “If that’s all you needed me here for, then-”
“No, wait! How about a relationship?” Nina asked.
“Why would anyone care about that?” I asked.
Whenever two random celebrities who have no prior connection to each other get into a relationship, it is plastered on the tabloids for approximately three hours. After that, no-one cares. Nina must have some sort of underlying scheme to make this work.
“Because I’ve signed you both up to do a series of commercials for the new Flyte and Barker broom. Both print and screen. In these commercials, you will be playing a couple. Your first public appearance together will be staged after the release of the first commercial. When the world sees that you two are truly in love, they will go crazy. The brooms will sell faster, and you two will be the power couple of the Wizarding World.”
“Why me?” Albus asked.
“What do you mean, darling? Why not you?”
“Why not James?” Albus pressed. “He’s the Quidditch player- the broom ad would make sense for him. And after all, he’s the one with all the fangirls.”
Nina smiled knowingly. “You underestimate the power of a bachelor, I see. It wouldn’t do to take him off the market just yet.”
“So that’s it? I’m just the second option because you still need my brother?”
Nina shook her head. “James was never considered for this position. We needed a young man who has the same allure as he does, yet a sensible head on his shoulders. You fit the bill perfectly, Albus. It was always you from the start.”
Nina had a way of charming her clients. Making them feel special. This was probably her strongest asset.
“Why me?” I asked.
“Because you’ve practically dropped off the face of the earth, you need this to get your name back out there.”
I folded my arms and scowled.
"So Darcy will become popular again," Albus stared, leaning his elbows on his knees and folding his hands under his chin, "but what's in it for me? I mean, besides the campaigns."
"You never know what opportunities may arise for the Wizarding World's power couple. Because, essentially, that is what you'll become."
He looked at me hesitantly and leaned back against his chair. He seemed just as suspicious and unsure as I was.
"What's the catch?" I asked, narrowing my eyes at Nina a little.
"No catch," she replied, but the look in her eyes told me otherwise. "You and Albus will act as a couple for one year."
I gulped. A year is a long time to fake a relationship a person. Especially when you may not even get along with said person.
Nina thought for a minute before answering. "Nothing really. Neither of you can date anybody during this time period, for obvious reasons. You may not tell anyone, and do not under any circumstances let the media find out."
She opened a draw in the side of her desk and pulled out a sheet of paper, covered in tiny writing. "If you can both sign on the line, the deal will be final."
Albus picked up the quill and dipped it in the emerald ink. Eyes skimming over the writing he hesitated for quite a while before scribbling his name at the bottom.
“Mum’s going to murder me,” he mumbled to himself, sitting back in the chair and pinching the bridge of his nose.
He passed me the quill and I was just as hesitant to sign as was. I began to read the tiny writing but after about two words my eyes glazed over and I gave up. Surely if Albus had agreed to it, it mustn’t be too bad. And after all, Nina always had our best interests at heart. I signed my name on the line and placed the quill down.
"Excellent." Nina snapped her fingers and our signatures glowed sliver.
Nina handed us two binders. Inside my binder was a semi-thick pad of paper. "These are your scripts for your first public appearance as a couple. Guard them with your lives. It also has the itinerary for your first shoot, which will be in two days time."
Albus raised his eyebrows as he flicked through his script. "When is 'our first public appearance' going to be?"
Nina smiled knowingly. “Tell me Albus, what’s happening this week that will draw in every single paparazzo in town, and that your entire family is required to attend?”
His eyes widened as he realized. “Dad’s speech at the Ministry.”
Nina nodded and Albus shook his head. “I’m not doing anything to jeopardize that.”
"The place will be swarming with nosy paparazzi that will go crazy the minute Albus Potter and a mystery girl try and slip away from the crowd to have a private conversation. You know how those parasites love to eavesdrop on anything that even suggests 'scandal'."
I nodded. "I suppose that could work.”
"Excellent," Nina said again. She clicked her fingers and some keys materialized in front of us. "For your flat."
We just stared at her blankly.
“I’m sorry,” I told her with a laugh, “I thought you said ‘flat’.”
“I did,” Nina confirmed. “Why would you both be in a relationship but not living together?”
We continued to stare at her blankly. I knew there’d be a catch.
"Have I taught you two nothing about reading the fine-print? For the course of this 'relationship' the two of you will be sharing a flat."
“How are we meant to explain this to our families?” Albus asked and Nina snapped her fingers once more. A roll of parchment appeared on the desk in front of him.
Dear Mum and Dad,
I’m moving in with Darcy. We
are in love. I’m sorry I didn’t
tell you sooner. Come visit any
time you’d like too.
I snorted. Why would he sign his full name in a letter to his parents?
“Don’t you laugh,” Nina said. “You’ve got one too.”
I folded my arms again.
"One last thing," Nina added, fishing through the drawer again. She leaned down until her shoulder was at the top. It must have an Undetectable Extension Charm or something on it.
"What now?" Albus muttered. I smiled at him weekly, which he half-heartedly returned.
"A little flat-warming gift for you both! But don't open it until you're there!"
We forced smiles at her. "Thanks Nina. When do we move in?" I asked.
"Right away! All your things are in the process of being moved now, and the flat's fully furnished and fully stocked. You can just Floo straight there after the meeting!"
"What do you mean our stuff is being moved? How did you know we'd sign?"
"Ah, but I didn't. It's the power of the contract. The moment you sign, your clothes and personal belongings begin to ship themselves to your flat.”
"You'd better get going now if you'd like to beat the afternoon traffic! Do be careful not to get ash and soot all over the new carpet."
Nina handed us both a slip of paper with the address of the flat scrawled on it. "Travel safe, darlings." With a loud crack, she Apparated from her office.
"You ready?" Albus asked. This was the first time he’d spoken directly to me.
I nodded and followed him into Nina’s fireplace. Suddenly I was moving. I felt like I was weightless for a few moments, before I was suddenly being compressed and stretched, pulled through the Floo Network. It was incredibly uncomfortable.
Albus and I were thrown into a living room, leaving a pile of ash on the carpet. The first thing I noticed is that everything- and I mean everything- is white. The couch, the carpet, the coffee table, the walls. Even the television was white.
I looked around, dropping my bag and robe on the couch. I turned to look at Albus, who was taking in everything too.
This place was huge.
“Why do you carry that with you?” Albus asked, motioning to my robe.
I shrugged. “I like it.”
He raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything else. I could practically see the word ‘Pureblood’ flash across his brain and the distaste that followed it, but I didn’t bring it up. I didn’t want to start anything.
"Here." Albus lifted up the large gift from Nina which was covered in pearly, glowing wrapping paper. He joined me by the couch and placed it on the coffee table. "You can do the honours."
I leaned forward and tore all the paper away. Nina's gift was an oval shaped mirror with a white ornate frame. We stared at it for a moment.
"Where do we put it?" I asked Albus.
"For the love of Merlin, not the bedroom."
Albus and I stared at each other in shock, slowly turning to look at the mirror.
"A nice spot on the lounge room wall would suffice," it said.
Of course. Of course Nina gave us a talking mirror. Why she thought it was a good idea, I had no idea.
"Did it just-" Albus said.
He picked it up and carried it to the empty wall.
"You're doing it the hard way," I called.
"I'm doing it the only way," he replied. I shook my head and pulled my wand out of my handbag.
Swish and flick.
The mirror flew out of his arms and hovered in the air in front of him. He sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck and I smirked.
"Is there anything to hang it on?"
"Yeah," he replied. "There is a nail here."
I flicked my wand towards the wall and the mirror settled on the nail.
"Ah," it sighed. "That's the spot."
Oct. 31st, 2026
I tied my hair in a high ponytail and pulled on my sweatpants. I didn’t bother with makeup as my stylist would just wash it all off anyway. I didn’t even want to go tonight. Not with all of the media. Not while he’d be there and we’d have to laugh and hold hands and listen to everyone tell us how perfect we are together.
I turned towards the lounge room and hesitated. Should I do it and regret it, or not do it and wish I did?
I nearly run to the lounge room. I think when she gave it to us, Nina knew. I think she knew that I'd need someone or something to talk to. This mirror knows everything about me, but it also knows everything about him. It holds nearly all our memories.
I decide I don't care and I yank off the black sheet covering my reflection. As soon as the sheet is gone, the mirror wakes up.
"Well, well. If it isn't Darcy Greengrass. I thought you'd forgotten about me."
"It has been a long time, hasn't it," I said in a small voice.
"Where have you been, sweetheart?"
I frowned at the patronizing nickname. The mirror was mocking me yet again.
“Can you show him to me?”
“That’s probably not a good idea, sweetheart. I don’t want to hear you cry for another week.”
"I think I remember why I stopped talking to you."
"I think I remember being the only one here for you, too."
My bottom lip quivered and my eyes began to prickle. I hated that a stupid piece of glass was able to upset me so easily. I had no-one; no-one except for a dumb mirror that was mean to me more often than not.
"I didn't mean to make you cry," it said to me quietly.
"Sure you didn't," I sniffed sarcastically.
"Talk to me, Darcy. Talk to me like you used to. What went wrong?"
"I don't know what you mean," I lied.
"Sure you do."
I did know what it meant. That didn’t mean I was going to talk about it. " I have to go get ready now. Bye."
"Wait, Darcy! Please don't cov-"
It was too late. The mirror's cry was cut off as I threw the sheet back over it. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or anything. Not him, not the mirror, not even my stylist. All I wanted to do was go back to bed and sleep for weeks.
Then maybe I’d wake up and find it would have just been a horrible dream and he’d wake up next to me again.
13th Apr. 2012
Wooohhh, new story :) Eheh
Quick disclaimer: I own nothing but Darcy and Nina. I don't own Harry Potter (even though I wish I did.)
I hope you guys like it! [Also, in case you're a bit confused, the parts written in present tense are what is actually happening, and the parts written in past tense are memories. I didn't want to italic the memories or else I'll be italicing the majority of the chapter haha] Darcy's character will become a bit clearer next chapter too! The story does get better haha.
Please leave a review or add to favourites or whatever!!
21st Jan. 2015
It’s been a while.
About three years
The other day I was suddenly motivated to continue all of my stories on here, so that’s something new. They’re all going to be edited to remove/change what I’m not happy with, and then I will be continuing them. I’ve edited this chapter quite heavily, and I strongly recommend that you do not read the next chapter until it is edited, because there will be some drastic changes, and the formatting will probably not make sense.
Please let me know what you think! I love hearing from everyone who reads my stories, it motivates me so much!
Thank you for reading!
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